New rapid train connections in Finland save passengers’ time
VR is accelerating train connections in July on many of its routes. The faster connections will begin service during the Midsummer holiday week on 20 June. Travel times from, for example, Helsinki to Oulu will shorten at best by over half an hour.
Passengers will save a considerable amount of time from June onwards as a result of the accelerated train connections. Speed comes a close second to economical pricing in the hopes and wishes of our customers. According to the survey arranged by VR, up to 70% of the Finnish public would prefer trains to be faster.
- Our goal is to increase the popularity of comfortable, environmentally friendly train travel stage-by-stage. Price and travel time are first in priority in determining whether a train is chosen for passenger transport. “Our prices, which were permanently reduced at the beginning of the year, have significantly increased train choice popularity: almost 250 000 travellers more than last year have already selected the train as their travel mode,” says Maija Romanainen, Senior Vice President for VR Passenger Services.
VR also has many development projects underway to improve travel comfort – such as the development of network connections as well as restaurant and café services.
More fast and direct connections between cities
Starting 20 June, travel times will accelerate from Helsinki to Seinäjoki, Oulu, Vaasa and Pori. For example, the travel time to Vaasa will shorten by almost 20 minutes, and to Oulu by over 30 minutes. A rapid connection that lasts less than 1 1/2 hours on the popular Helsinki–Tampere route each hour will be introduced. Not only that but more connections without transfers will be offered to Jyväskylä, Vaasa and Kajaani. Tampere will continue to be the transfer point for connections directed towards other parts of Finland from Turku, while the connections between Helsinki and Jyväskylä will be direct.
- We’re speeding up travel wherever possible and where the greatest number of potential passengers can benefit from it. Turku Express, launched in March, has exceeded its expectations in a very short time – showing the direction for the benefits obtained by speed. “Increasing speed is the sum of several elements: rail condition and the single-track feature, speed restrictions, stopping behaviour, functionality of transfer connections and the effective utilisation of personnel and train equipment must all be taken into account,” says Antti Tuominen, VR Planning Director for long-distance traffic.
The connection between Helsinki and Turku was accelerated in March. VR customers have warmly reacted to the service, which is 20 minutes faster: train occupancy has reached over 70% and the service has been on time 90%. Due to construction work at Kupittaa Station, Turku Express will remain on summer break from 20 June to 11 September.
Tickets on sale 3 May
From June onwards, there will be 264 train runs daily. Together with the acceleration programme, VR will cut 12 less-used daily runs; i.e. about 4% of train services. In previous years there were fewer train runs during the summer, but this year no summer reductions are planned. The only exception is Turku Express, which will be temporarily halted due to work on the tracks.
There will be café or restaurant services in all distance trains as a result of the changes introduced in June. A new station will open at Kempele. At the less-travelled stations of Laihia, Ylistaro and Isonkyrö, connections by train or coach to the long-distance traffic station will be tried.
The new faster connections will go on sale tomorrow, 3 May, and tickets can be purchased in VR’s Online / Mobile Shop as well as via VR’s telephone service, sales outlets and ticket vending machines, on the train and at R Kiosks throughout Finland.
You can get more information about route-specific changes here:
Learn more about what affects train speeds.
Get more information about the survey results referred to in our announcement in our train blog. The survey was implemented on assignment from VR by TNS Gallup, and Finnish citizens aged 15–74 participated.